OK, I've seen a few of Sam Fuller's films now, but I'm still not sure whether he's a veritable genius or just a complete crackpot. Street of No Return does little to clarify things. As others have pointed out, it's not a particularly good film, but it is classic Fuller, in that it attempts to deal with salient social issues with bombastic acting, lurid violence, and some seriously ham-fisted dialogue. But that's why people (myself included) can't get enough of Fuller's work: it's so preposterous yet sincere you can't help but love it. After forty years of directing, Fuller obstinately sticks to his thematic and stylistic guns, for better or worse. In particular the dialogue seems incredibly anachronistic, as though everyone in the film grew up watching Fuller's own Pickup on South Street or Underworld USA. Like Kinji Fukasaku's Triple Cross (92), Street of No Return is the work of an aging maverick director who, despite a complete lack of commercial and critical success, never wavered in his artistic convictions. And for those of us who may stumble upon their work years later, it makes their films all the more endearing. The fantoma DVD release comes with a 'making of' which is really just an excuse to film the bellicose yet lovable Fuller spouting off on (what else?) race, violence, and the good old days of street journalism, and is well worth the price of rental alone.
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